NBC's "Saturday Night Live," instead of its usual comedic opening, featured a children's choir earnestly singing, "Silent Night," to pay tribute to the victims of mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The late night sketch comedy and variety show opened with the members of the New York City Children's Chorus singing the Christmas hymn with its final line, "Sleep in heavenly peace."
Choir members shouted out the introduction, "Live from New York, it's 'Saturday Night!'" Later, the chorus returned to join the show's musical guest Paul McCartney in a rendition of his "Wonderful Christmas Time."
The opening was the only but clear reference to the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Friday's mass shooting. Family members of victims collected the bodies Saturday morning.
Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old suspect, whom family friends said suffered from Asperger's Syndrome, killed his mother at their home in Newtown, and then opened fire inside the Sandy Hook school and killed 12 girls and eight boys – all first-graders, six or seven years old – and six adults before shooting himself.
The six adults killed were all women, including school principal Dawn Hochsprung and psychologist Mary Scherlach, who had been shot as they tried to protect their students.
This week, eight funeral services are being planned at Newtown's St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, where the shooter and eight of the young victims were parishioners.
A bomb threat on Sunday caused evacuation at the church during the noon mass, according to The Associated Press. A SWAT team later determined there was no danger.
Meanwhile, Sandy Hook's superintendent announced Sunday that there will be no school this week, after which the students will attend an unused school in a neighboring town.